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Professor Chris Taylor

Professor Chris Taylor

Academic Director, SPARK

+44 29208 76938
+44 (0)29 208 74678
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


Chris is Professor of Social Sciences at Cardiff University and is the Academic Director of the Cardiff University Social Science Research Park (SPARK). Prior to this he was a Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD).

Chris has published extensively on a wide range of educational and social issues and has undertaken research across all education sectors, from early years to higher education. This has included government-funded evaluations of the Foundation Phase for all 3-7 year olds in Wales, the Pupil Development Grant and the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification, an ESRC Fellowship studying the geography of growing up in the UK and an ESRC Large Grant on the political economy of school exclusions across the UK. He recently established the WISERD Education Data Lab, utilising education administrative data to support education priorities in Wales and helps convene the annual WISERDEducation Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS). He is also part of the PISA 2021 team for England and Wales, working with the University of Oxford and Pearson. Chris is also a member of the ESRC Large Centre on Civil Society in WISERD, leading on a number of work packages on civil society including the impact of graduates on civil society, the intergenerational transmission of civic attitudes and engagement, the role of grandparents in children’s formative years and the opportunities and barriers to children’s participation in civil society.

Chris was formerly the editor of Teaching and Teacher Education and the British Educational Research Journal and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Education Policy, the British Journal of Sociology of Education and the British Journal of Educational Studies. He is a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Student Opportunities and Achievement Committee and is the independent chair of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL, Strategic Advisory Board.


Education and qualifications

  • 2000: PhD (Human Geography), University of Leicester, UK
  • 1995: BA Geography (First), University of Leicester, UK

Career overview

  • 2018 - Academic Director, Cardiff University Social Science Research Park (secondment)
  • 2000 - present: Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences
  • 1995 - 1999: University of Leicester, Geography Department

Awards and recognition

  • Research Fellow, Education Policy Institute, Oct 2021
  • Elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, Jne 2018
  • Awarded Hugh Owen Medal from the Learned Society of Wales in recognition of significant contributions to educational research, May 2017
  • Research Impact Award, Wales Social Research Awards in recognition of the impact of the Foundation Phase evaluation, Dec 2017

Honours and awards

  • 2018: Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
  • 2017: Awarded the Hugh Owen Medal by the Learned Society of Wales in recognition of significant contributions to educational research
  • 2017: Research Impact Award at the Wales Social Research Awards in recognition of the impact of the Foundation Phase three-year evaluation

Professional memberships

  • Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies
  • Society for Educational Studies
  • Former member of the British Educational Research Association
  • Former member of the American Educational Research Association

Academic positions

  • 2019 – present: Academic Director, Cardiff University Social Science Research Park
  • 2013 - 2019: Cardiff Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods, Cardiff University
  • 2012 - present: Professor of Education, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2011 - present: Visiting Research Associate at the Institute of Education, University College London (UCL)
  • 2009 - 2012: Reader in Education, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2006 - 2009: Senior Lecturer in Education, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2003 - 2006: Lecturer in Education, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2000 - 2003: Research Associate, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 1997 - 1999: Lecturer in Human Geography, Department of Geography, University of Leicester

Committees and reviewing

  • 2019 - present: Member of the AHRC/ESRC/MRC Research and Stakeholder Advisory Board for Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind
  • 2015 - present: Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Student Opportunity and Achievement Committee (SOAC)
  • 2015 - present: Chair of the ESRC Centre for Longitudinal Studies’ Strategic Advisory Group
  • 2016 - 2019: Chair of the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) Education Group
  • 2015 - 2019: Member of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) Age 17 Scientific Advisory Group
  • 2010 - 2016: Member of the ESRC Capabilities Committee (formerly the Training and Skills Committee)
  • 2015 - 2016: Member of the ESRC Infrastructure Working Group
  • 2015 - 2016: Member of the Welsh Government Digital Competence Framework Quality Assurance Group





















Research supervision

Chris has supervised many Masters and PhD students and on a wide range of research topics including: school truancy, school vouchers, higher education participation, paid employment among undergraduates, the emotional geographies of museums (with the National Museum of Wales, intergenerational justice, wellbeing in the Foundation Phase (with the Welsh Government), schools and volunteering, citizenship education in Malaysia (with the Malaysian Government), the effectiveness of early family interventions (with Home-Start UK) and children's and young people's subjective wellbeing.

Chris is particularly keen to develop collaborative studentships with non-academic external partners.


I do not currently convene any modules but I have taught on all of the following modules:

  • Dissertation (UG Year 3 module)
  • Conflict and Change in Education Policy (UG Year 3 module)
  • Education in Practice (UG Year 2 module)
  • Education and Society (UG Year 1 module)
  • Research Methods (Masters and Professional Doctorate modules)
  • Research and Evidence-Based Policy and Practice (Professional Doctorate module)
  • Social Context of Education (Professional Doctorate module)
  • Strategies of Applied Research (Masters module in MSc Social Science Research Methods (ESRC 1+3))

Research interests

  • The geography of education
  • Education and neighbourhoods
  • School choice and diversity
  • Social justice and education policy
  • Participation in Higher and Further Education
  • Evaluation of education policy
  • Inter-disciplinary research methods
  • Combining qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Research capacity building

Recent and selected funded research

  • Apr 2022 - Mar 2026   Administrative Data Research Wales 2022 - 2026 (Part of ADR UK) (with Prof D Ford et al), ESRC (Grant Ref: ES/W012227/1) £13.2M
  • Apr 2021 - Mar 2022   WISERD Education Data Lab 2021-22, Welsh Government (with Dr Jen Hampton). £97k
  • Nov 2020 - Oct 2022   International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO), ESRC (with Prof Jo Chattaway et al) £2M
  • Aug 2020 – Jul 2021    Controlling COVID19 through enhanced population surveillance and intervention (Con-COV): a platform approach, UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call (with Prof R Lyons et al). £1.03M
  • Sep 2020 – Jul 2022    WISERD Education Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS) (Sweeps 8 and 9), Welsh Government (with Prof S Power), £239k 
  • Feb 2020 – Jan 2022    Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK, Nuffield Foundation (with L Sibieta (Education Policy Institute) and J Jerrim (UCL)) £163k
  • Oct 2019 – Sep 2023    The political economies of school exclusion and their consequences, ESRC Large Grant (with Prof H Daniels, University of Oxford, et al) £2.5M
  • Oct 2019 – Sep 2024    WISERD/Civil Society: Changing perspectives on Civic Stratification and Civil Repair, ESRC Large Centre (with Prof I R Jones et al) £7.9M
  • Feb 2019 – Mar 2019    Top-line Analysis and Feasibility Study on More Able and Talented Pupils in Wales Using Millennium Cohort Study Data, funded by the Welsh Government (with Prof S Power), £5k
  • Dec 2018 – Apr 2021    Administrative Data Research Centre 2018, ESRC (with Prof D Ford et al), £5.9M
  • May 2018 – Feb 2019    Evidence review and research support for the Commissioner’s ‘What Now?’, funded by Children’s Commissioner for Wales (with R Barrance, S Power, G Rees), £25k
  • Oct 2018 – Apr 2020    Does local authority care make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children? Longitudinal analyses of a retrospective electronic cohort, funded by the ESRC (with S Long, D Farewell, G Moore, D Fone, J Scourfield, R Lyons), £192k
  • Dec 2017 – Feb 2018    Contract for the provision of public consultation services as part of Professor Graham Donaldson’s independent review of Estyn, funded by Estyn (with S Power), £14k
  • Aug 2017 – Mar 2019    Successful futures for all, funded by HEFCW and Welsh Government (with S Power), £125k
  • July 2017 – July 2018    The Political and Civic Engagement and Participation of Children in England and Wales, funded by WISERD (with S Fox, S Pearce and P Chaney), £40k
  • July 2017 – July 2018    Participation in the international Children’s World Survey, funded by WISERD and Welsh Government (with S Power), £15k
  • May 2017 – May 2018    Disparities in rates of permanent exclusion from schools across the UK, funded by the John Fell Fund (University of Oxford) (with I Thompson, H Daniels, A Gallacher, S Power, G McClusky, et al), £39k
  • Analysis of Destinations and Retention of Year 12 Students in Sixth Form Schools, funded by the Welsh Government (with R Davies), £25k
  • WISERD/Civil Society ESRC Large Centre, (with Prof I Jones, Cardiff University et al), £7M
  • Evaluation of Foundation Phase Flexibility Pilots, funded by the Welsh Government (with Dr M Rhys and Dr S Waldron), £119k
  • Centre for Administrative Data Research and Evaluation (CADRE) - an ESRC Administrative Data Research Centre (with Prof D Ford, Swansea University, et al), £10M
  • Evaluation of the Pupil Deprivation Grant, funded by the Welsh Government (with Ipsos-MORI), £119k (Extension awarded for 2015/16 £121k
  • Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales, funded by the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative and HEFCW (with Prof G Rees), £288k (ESRC: £187k; HEFCW: £101k)
  • WISERDEDUCATION, funded by HEFCW (with Prof S Power), £930k
  • Growing up in 21st Century Britain: spatial analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study (Mid-Career Fellowship), funded by the ESRC, £136k
  • Evaluating the Foundation Phase – tender to evaluate the Foundation Phase in Wales, funded by the Welsh Government (with Prof T Maynard, Canterbury Christchurch University, and WISERD), £990k
  • REAL-net, funded by the European Commission (with Prof S Power),  €235k per annum
  • A Social and Professional Network for Early Career Researchers in Education, funded by the ESRC (with Dr P Carmichael, University of Cambridge), £79k
  • Welsh Institute of Social and Economic Data, Research and Methods (WISERD), funded by the ESRC and the Welsh Assembly Government (with Prof H Beynon et al), £4.8M
  • LINK-Wales: The Learning in Wales Network, funded by ESRC/HEFCW Wales Education Research Network (WERN) (with Prof S Power and Mr G Thomas, University of Wales, Aberystwyth), £39k
  • NCRM Networks for Methodological Innovation: Measuring segregation: methods, tools and data, funded by ESRC  National Centre for Research Methods (with Dr R Harris, University of Bristol), £6.5k
  • Assessment of Capacity and Viability of Local Authority Outdoor Education Centres, funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families (with CRG Research Ltd, Prof S Power and Prof G Rees), £62k
  • Formative Evaluation of the Applied Educational Research Scheme (AERS), funded by the Scottish Executive (with Prof S Power, Prof G Rees), £30k
  • Scoping Study to Identify Quantitative Methods Capacity Building Needs in Wales, funded by the ESRC and HEFCW (with Prof L Moore, Prof K Whitfield, Prof G Maio, Dr A Robinson), £30k

Research project links


Current supervision

Nikki Jones

Research student

Adam Pierce

Research student

Past projects

Sara Jones    PhD (revisions)    Welsh Baccalaureate    2017 – 2018 (PhD awarded)
Tom Croke    Professional Doctorate    UHOVI    2018 – 2020 (PD awarded)
Nikki Jones    ESRC/Welsh Government +3 PhD    Evaluating the Foundation Phase Five Years On    2017 – (ongoing)
Jessica Hoare    ESRC/ Amgueddfa Cymru 1+3    The emotional geographies of museums [with Jon Anderson]    2016 – (ongoing)
Hannah Blake    ESRC +3 PhD    Schools, Volunteering and Charitable Giving [with Sally Power]    2016 – 2020 (PhD awarded)
Rhian Powell    ESRC +3 PhD    Generational Justice [with Sally Power]    2016 – 2020 (Phd awarded)
Scott McKenzie    Professional Doctorate    Area based initiatives and widening participation in higher education [with Dean Stroud]    2016 – (ongoing)
Adam Pierce    ESRC/Civil Society +3 PhD    Higher Education and the Welsh Language [with Gareth Rees]    2015 – (ongoing)
Nell Warner    ESRC/Home Start +3 PhD    Early intervention and family support [with Luke Sloan]    2015 – 2018 (PhD awarded)
Gwyther Rees    ESRC +3 PhD    The structure and potential of children’s self-reported wellbeing [with William Baker]    2013 – 2018 (PhD awarded)
Alyson Lewis    ESRC/Welsh Government +3 PhD    The Foundation Phase in Wales [with Sally Power]    2012 – 2017 (PhD awarded)
Haniza Mahmood    Research Doctorate    ‘One Malaysia’ and the Malaysian education system (Malaysia Government) [with Martin Jephcote]    2009 – 2014 (PhD awarded)
Patrick Yun    PhD    Substantiating Community Education [with Sally Power]    2008 – 2014 (PhD awarded)
Michael Donnolly    ESRC 1+3    Entry and admissions into Higher Education [with Sally Power]    2007 – 2013 (PhD awarded)
Phillipa James    ESRC 1+3    Truancy in primary and secondary schools [with Sally Power]    2006 – 2012 (PhD awarded)
Lynette Cavill    ESRC 1+3    Employment amongst higher education undergraduates [with John Fitz]    2006 – 2014 (MPhil awarded)